I HAD to plan the perfect girlfriend getaway because if Beyoncé has taught us anything it is that girls rule the world – my world, at least. I’ve always been a girls girl. I am a daughter, a mother, a sorority sister and a diehard appreciator of and believer in women. If the Pink Ladies were real, I’d be wearing my pink satin bomber jacket every. single. day.
So when I decided to throw a party to celebrate the girlfriends that supported me in my SoFortWorthIt journey, I went all in. My idea: Hosting a girls-only getaway at our family lake house on beautiful Lake Texoma. Thank you to Captain Merle for driving this boat of boss babes.
The goal of the weekend was to have fun, of course, but I also wanted it to be a ginormous “Thank You” to my girlfriends — the ones who have been by my side. The one who have always shared, liked and followed, the ones who have cheered my successes, wiped my tears and welcomed me into the blogger world. Since my love language is acts of service and gift giving – I am the daughter of Next Level Hostess Carol Dunaway, after all – you know I had to make it EXTRA.
The weekend getaway I gifted to my girlfriends may have been a tad over-the-top, but the steps I followed to plan it could not have been more basic. No matter your budget or your timeframe, if you want to show your own squad some love, I share with you six easy steps to create a foolproof party plan.
I have always believed that the invitation sets the tone for a party. And depending on the occasion, this is one place I love to go all out, because I get to express my love of entertaining and being creative. Hell, I’ve got to put that SMU art degree to some use every once in a while!
When designing a unique invitation, the first thing I do is figure out how to create my look as inexpensively as possible, so I hit the dollar store to gather ideas and to buy the necessary budget-friendly party items in bulk.
For this invite, everything revolved around the idea of a straw bag filled with beach gear. Thanks to the dollar store, I picked up a collection of vibrant totes, colorful flip-flops, fluffy towels and fun sunnies. I added little bottles of bubbles, tubes of sunscreen and glitter paper tags with satin ribbon and a little assist from Byrd + Bleecker and voila! An unforgettable invitation that’s useful, too!
2. GOODY BAGS
You can’t invite people to spend the weekend with you and not have some sort of gift for them. It doesn’t have to break the bank – it’s the thought that counts. My favorite spot to place a gift is on the guestroom pillow. Even high-end hotels know that even something as small as a mint on the pillow makes people feel appreciated.
For my girlfriends, my pillow treat was a goody bag filled with fab things. I worked with Mulholland and Company to design Wave Hog sunglasses straps and T-shirts, and of course I added some beauty products to the mix. My amazing friend Autumn brought the “Oh Shit Kits” for the guest amenity bags. Everything you needed for a weekend of drinking was in that bag! (will list items) –which is a great segue into the next topic.
3. GIRLDFRIENDS WARDROBE
Lord knows I love a party with a theme. Whether you tell your friends to wear something specific or give them a prop or even a custom T, nothing gets guests into the mood quite like party wear.
Thanks to fashion entrepreneur Sheridan French we were almost all matching. Caftans are the ultimate in cocktail couture, but they’re also amazing as après-swim coverups. Perfect for a weekend on the lake!
4. YUMMY FOOD
While some people put an olive in a martini and call it dinner, my girl gang loves to eat (and let’s get real, so do I!). Food is always the heart of any celebration, and I always like to go the extra mile for my guests, whether it’s serving something special like Marky’s Caviar, Champagne (my favorites!) or just putting the Oreos in a crystal bowl.
It’s always a challenge to provide for a group, and for my party, I took the easy route and brought my chef to the celebration along with a local server. This took the burden of prepping and serving off of me and gave me the ability to relax with my friends and truly be present. For me, it was all about an effortless weekend, even though there was a ton of effort that went into it.
The menu Chef Marissa created was incredible, and since it was my party, you know I made it “Christy-Dietary-Restriction-Friendly.” (Think Vromage vegan cheese on the cheeseboard.) Chef Marissa prepared so many tasty vegan options, that I caught many of the ladies partaking in “my food” versus the “real food.” Which just proves that if you do plant-based food right, no one will ever notice.
I am a superfan of party theme cookies, and I love having edible creations at each of my events. For my best girlfriends, I called on the ubertalented Karen Wade of the Velvet Crumb to create hand-stenciled painted cookies that were not only yummy, they were helpful – I used them as place cards.
5. EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
Drinking is fun, but at some point, you have to have a plan that goes beyond popping a cork. Evenings are the perfect time to unveil that plan, and after-dinner activities are my jam. It helps the evening last a bit longer and it staves off any kind of after-dinner lull. Here are the activities I planned for our days at the lake:
Left Right Center
This gambling dice game is action-packed and always results in oohs, aaahs and screams. It doesn’t hurt that someone ends up with a big pot of money at the end! To smoothly orchestrate this game, I asked everyone to bring $20 in cash (or Venmo! I’m a modern girl after all!). I came prepared to turn all those crisp ATM bills into stripper cash – meaning $1 bills, y’all. Thinking through the process in advance allowed for an organized game of LRC. We play this every Christmas with our family, and it has now become a Smith Family tradition.
Merry Christymas (Get it?)
I thought it would be fun to host a “Merry Christymas” gift exchange as a way to show my appreciation to my friendships with this great group of women and to also, I won’t lie, have a little shopping fun myself.I scoured my gift closet, the ‘net and even did a little local shopping to curate a collection of treats that ranged from really funny to really luxe. I provided all the gifts, and everyone drew numbers, just like a traditional holiday gift exchange. If you know me at all I do like a splash of dirty in my martini, with my girls of course! Here were a few of my favorite sussies I scooped up for my crew. Warning: There’s a hint of dirty in this martini!
6. GIRLFRIENDS DANCE PARTY
“All right stop/Collaborate and listen … !” That Vanilla Ice ditty is timeless, and IMHO it never fails to get your girl gang going. It’s all part of a kick-ass playlist – a must-have at any party. I always go for the Old School, but if you’re a Belieber and your friends are, too, I say go for it.
I loved pulling out every stop to celebrate my girlfriends at our epic Thank You Weekend Lakehouse Getaway, but I hope you know it doesn’t matter how much you spend or how much time you can afford to take, what is in your heart and who’s close to it is what matters. We as women spend so much time criticizing ourselves. It’s time we gave ourselves some love and shared our appreciation with the women who support us, guide us and give us life. It’s about sisterhood, uplifting women, giving back and loving on each other. Satin jackets or not, we are all Pink Ladies!
PHOTO CREDIT: Laura McCarthy / Elusive Images
To all my Girls Girls out there and the Mrs. Ropers, too – who wants to win a Sheridan French caftan?
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